Ledecky is named Female Athlete of the Olympic Games


Katie Ledecky hasn't been able to get used to her first year as a student-athlete at Stanford. She's been running around the country collecting awards and honors.

School started, with Ledecky on hand, Monday. Two days later she's in Washington D.C. accepting the award for Female Athlete of the Olympic Games.

The Cardinal freshman set two world records en route to winning four gold medals and one silver medal, becoming only the second swimmer to sweep the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyle titles at a single Games. Her four gold medals in a single Olympics rank tied for second all-time among women.

"It's a tremendous honor," Ledecky said. "It was an honor just to be nominated among those great athletes. It's so humbling, and it was a great night to celebrate the accomplishments of the whole team."

The U.S. women's sitting volleyball team, which includes Katie Holloway, who works for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, was named Team of the Paralympic Games.

Mountain View native Adam Krikorian, who coached the U.S. Olympic women's water polo team to its second consecutive gold medal, was recognized as Coach of the Games.

The awards were presented during a live taping of the Team USA Awards, Best of the Games ceremony, held tonight at Georgetown University's McDonough Arena.

Other honorees included Male Athlete of the Olympic Games Michael Phelps, Swimming; Team of the Olympic Games U.S. women's gymnastics team; Female Athlete of the Paralympic Games Tatyana McFadden, Track and Field; and Male Athlete of the Paralympic Games Brad Snyder, Swimming.

The six athlete and team award winners were determined by online fan voting. Nearly 400,000 fan votes determined 50 percent of the final tally. Members of the Olympic and Paralympic family, including an esteemed panel of Olympic and Paralympic journalists, accounted for the other 50 percent.

The ceremony concluded with the presentation of the inaugural Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award, which was posthumously bestowed to Olympic boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who passed away on June 3 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Created in collaboration with the Owens family on the 80th anniversary of Owens' record-breaking performances at the 1936 Olympic Games, the award annually recognizes an individual(s) who has served as a powerful force for good in society, inspiring others by contributing to a better world, uniting people or leading a cause.

Lonnie Ali, wife of the late Muhammad Ali, accepted the award on his behalf from Owens' granddaughter, Marlene Dortch, and great grandson, Llewellyn Dortch Jr.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA Swimming

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